Meat Notice 2018-01 - Alternate protocol for managing illegible or missing shipping marks for the packed products (meat) exported to USA

​​NSFS reference: 13

Issue date: 22/01/2018

Date of effect: Immediate

Review date: January 2020​


Operational Integrity
Export Meat Program
Email: MID Operations Coordination

Documentation, Registration & Licensing
Exports Division
Email: Food Export Documentation

Distribution categories

  • Central and regional office
  • Department on-plant officer(s)
  • Managers, export meat establishments


To inform export registered establishments eligible to produce meat and meat products for the United States of America (USA) of the agreed process available to manage shipping mark discrepancies identified at the point of entry.

This meat notice is a review of and replaces meat notice 2015/04.


This notice applies to export registered meat and meat product establishments listed for export to the USA (establishment/s) and seeking to utilise the alternate protocol for the remarking of cartons where shipping marks are missing or illegible.


The following table defines terms used in this notice.




Unique numbering system to identify individual cartons of meat and meat products


International organisation that develops and maintains standards for supply and demand chains across multiple sectors

Inspection Warehouse

A receiving warehouse in the USA approved by the US FSIS, which is able to access the meat messaging web portal, can view the despatch advice message (DESADV) and scan the cartons in the load on arrival in the US to verify and identify a missing or illegible shipping mark.

Meat Messaging

An electronic message in a prescribed format

Meat Messaging Web Portal

The system developed for the purpose of reconciling unique cartons within a load of product exported from Australia for import into the United States of America

Shipping mark

Unique number used to identify lots within a container that relates those lots to the health certificate(s)


Serial Shipping Container Code


The USA require that a unique shipping mark is applied to all shipments of edible meat and meat products for import to the USA. Shipping mark details are included on the health certificate and are used to support the identification and traceability of the meat and meat products.

One of the more common reasons for the rejection of edible meat and meat products in the USA is for missing or illegible shipping marks. In these instances, FSIS allows the competent authority of the exporting country or their agent to remark the cartons at the exporters’ expense.

In 2015, FSIS released FSIS Notice 41-15, which approved the use of barcodes as a means to verify whether containers of imported product with missing or completely illegible shipping marks are part of a lot certified on the accompanying foreign inspection certificate. This notice has been replaced by FSIS Notice 81-16.


Establishment Management must:

  1. Register with the Meat Messaging web portal
  2. Demonstrate competence in using the Meat Messaging web portal in the test environment in accordance with Attachment 1.
  3. Update their Approved Arrangement to include the use of the Meat Messaging web portal and relevant controls.
  4. Notify the department as soon as they become aware of any issues affecting the integrity of the alternate protocol.
  5. Ensure that the inspection warehouse has the technology and capability to scan GS1 barcodes and access the reports from the portal.
  6. Ensure the establishment has GS1 barcoding, the Meat Messaging System and a barcode scanner.

Departmental on-plant officers will:

  1. Provide establishment management with a copy of this Meat Notice (MN).
  2. Verify the establishment responsibilities and actions of this MN (as relevant) have been included in the occupier’s Approved Arrangement.

Departmental Auditors (Food Safety Auditors or Area Technical Managers) will:

  1. Review the occupier’s Approved Arrangement.
  2. Approve or not approve the arrangement as per their findings.
  3. Verify through audit at least once per year that the occupier is complying with this MN; (for example, this may be done during an Export Meat Systems Audit Program (EMSAP) or the traditional monthly audit)
  4. Notify by email to Export Establishment Registration, that the establishment has met the requirements of this MN and request that the appropriate overseas operation be added to the establishment registration.

Export Registration database administrators will:

  1. Update the establishment registration to include US Bar Coding (USBC).
  2. Notify the US of the establishment’s approval and request that the share-point website be updated.
  3. Request the US to advise when the share point website has been updated with the approved establishment details.
  4. Issue an updated Certificate of Registration to the establishment showing USBC under Overseas Operations.

Angela Davies
Export Meat Program

[expand all]

Attachment 1 Meat Messaging Protocol for Missing/Illegible Shipping Marks

The establishments that are in compliance with the GS1 standard for barcodes will number each carton/carcase in series that they produce through the application of that barcode. This allows the individual cartons/carcases in every load to be uniquely identified.

The establishment will scan cartons/carcases at the point of despatch, using the information to generate the Request for Permit and Health Certificate. The establishment should then send a separate commercial electronic despatch advice message containing the cartons/carcases serial numbers to the industry supported Meat Messaging web portal. The Inspection Warehouse in the US, will verify the contents of the load and identify only missing or illegible shipping marks.

If the cartons/carcases are verified as being part of the certified load, and are correct against the electronic despatch advice message, then a receipt message is generated and sent electronically via the meat messaging portal. An email should be sent to the on-site FSIS inspector who will check with the FSIS share-point web site to ensure that the exporting plant is approved. When satisfied, the FSIS inspector approves the cartons to be remarked under the FSIS inspectors general supervision.

Carton labelling requirements

A GS1 compliant barcode is required to be used on the carton/carton labels to be able to access the Meat Messaging System.

Uploading the load out scan file

The establishment must be able to up-load the load-out files to the web portal in the required format.

Approved Arrangement preparation and amendment

To demonstrate compliance with the Meat Messaging System, the establishment must:

  • Send 10 test messages to the Meat Messaging web portal test database
  • Conduct a review of those messages to ensure that they can access and use the Meat Messaging portal correctly.
  • Print off the 10 review reports and submit with the amendments to the AA as proof that they are compliant.

The Approved Arrangement for the establishment must state that they:

  • Are compliant with the GS1 standards around the use of barcoding.
  • Have a system in place to upload to the web portal the load out scan files for all loads to the US in the required format.

The amendment must be approved by the department prior to the establishment being allowed access to the production (live) part of the Meat Messaging web portal.

Registration amendment

The establishment will need to present a statement of compliance with the Meat Messaging System via an email to Export Establishment Registration. The Establishment Register (ER) may then be updated with US Bar Coding (USBC) in the Overseas Operations section of the establishment registration.

The department will issue an updated Certificate of Registration to the establishment showing the USBC code under the Overseas Operations section of the establishment registration.

Procedure for each shipment

At Export End
  • Apply a GS1 barcode on labelling to identify each individual carton
  • Apply the shipping mark to each carton as per USA requirements to identify a lot/s within the container.
    • Each carton is scanned to a Meat Messaging System file identifying the particular shipping mark of the grouping of cartons in preparation for loading into the container
  • Create a data file in the system using GS1 barcode and Meat Messaging as a record of all the cartons identified to a particular shipping mark that is loaded into the container
    • Note: the same data file/s is commonly used to input the loads summary data into the request for an export permit
  • Ensure that the data file/s detailing the load and each unique carton within the shipping mark grouping/s assigned to the load is uploaded to the Meat Messaging web portal and is available to the import warehouse in the USA
    • Note: the upload to the Meat Messaging web portal must occur prior to the departure of the goods as declared on the health certificate
  • Enter the Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) into the exporter comments when applying for an export permit and certificate.
At Import End
  • The Inspection Warehouse receives the container and scans the individual cartons with the missing or illegible shipping marks at unloading of the container.
Remarking Process

Where cartons are identified with illegible or missing shipping marks the:

1. The Inspection Warehouse

  • uploads the data into the meat messaging web portal which  generates a verification report that verifies the cartons within the load (Attachment 2).
  • notifies the exporter of the goods and provides relevant shipping details to accurately identify the load (e.g. health certificate number or SSCC number etc) and confirmation that a carton verification report was generated.

2. The exporter or Inspection Warehouse submits a ‘Request for Remarking of Cartons destined to USA form’ through the Meat Messaging Portal as per instructions on the form (Attachment 3) and attaches the verification report

3. The department assess the application and provide a decision on the ‘Request for Remarking of Cartons destined to the USA form’ to enable the remarking of the cartons under US FSIS supervision

4. Exporter or International Warehouse notifies the import warehouse and provides relevant information to US FSIS to initiate remarking

5. Inspection Warehouse organises remarking of cartons as per FSIS instruction.

Verified cartons may then be remarked by the import warehouse under US FSIS supervision.

A summary of the overall process from assembling the load through to submitting the application for remarking is shown in Attachment 4.

For more information please visit Meat Messaging Web Portal

Attachment 2 Verified Carton Serial Number Report sample


Attachment 3 Request for Remarking of Cartons destined to USA form



Attachment 4 Shipping Mark verification Model using Meat Messaging sample


Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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